Islamists slit the throats of 15 Christians
Militant Islamists have beheaded five people in Nigeria's north-eastern city of Maiduguri, a resident has told the BBC.
The men were attacked during raids on three homes overnight, he said in an account confirmed by a local reporter. However, the military told the BBC only three people had been killed.
At least 23 others have been killed in separate attacks in the north this week blamed on militants wanting to impose Islamic law on Nigeria.
The insurgency was launched by Boko Haram in Maiduguri in 2009, but a second militant group, Ansaru, emerged last year.
Last month, Islamists slit the throats of at least 15 Christians near Maiduguri reports BBC News.
In the latest attack, the assailants first beheaded a father and son at their home, before beheading two other men at their residence and a fifth person at another house in Maiduguri, said a resident, who spoke to the BBC Hausa service on condition of anonymity.
On Monday, gunmen apparently targeted hunters selling bush meat in Damboa in north-east Nigeria, killing 18 people, witnesses said.
Another five people died on Tuesday when a group of men playing draughts was attacked in Kano.
Strict Muslims believe it is forbidden to eat animals such as monkeys or to play games that could influence people to take up gambling.
|Islamist Boko Haram killings.|
Easter Sunday Islamist attack against Christians
Church bombing by Muslims
|Muslims have bombed Christians while they attend church.|
Nigeria's militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, have been accused by Amnesty International of committing widespread atrocities.
Nigerian Christians live in fear of Islam
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.
On Sunday, a church was bombed, leaving eight people dead in Kaduna, one of the cities affected by the conflict. Although Boko Haram has not said it carried out the attacks, it has claimed responsibility for similar bombings across northern and central Nigeria.
Obadiah Diji, youth leader of the Christian Association of Kaduna, gave the BBC an account of how life has changed in the city.
By Obadiah Diji:
I have lived in Kaduna city nearly all my life - and I am filled with sadness when I look how sharply divided it has become along religious lines.
It was not always like this. We once took pride in the fact that Kaduna was cosmopolitan and welcoming of everyone.
|"People are too scared to go clubbing|
or to just sit around a table, drinking beer
and eating fish."
Although there were differences, Christians and Muslims lived together. We were in an out of each other's homes. Our children went to the same schools, learning from each other about their respective religions and cultures.
People even married across religious lines - my stepmother became a Muslim and married a Muslim.
My sister also married a Muslim, but remained a Christian.
There are many such marriages in Kaduna. It never caused a problem. There was respect and tolerance - not hatred and violence.
Things changed around the year 2000, when Kaduna was hit, for the first time, by religious conflict attributed to the introduction of Islamic law in the state.
That is when segregated settlements emerged. People fled their homes to escape violence. Christians ended up living in one part of the city; Muslims in another.
I have always been opposed to segregated areas - and that is why I still live, with my wife and four children, in a mainly Muslim area.
Church metal detectors
But it is true that since Boko Haram started its insurgency, Christians have been living in constant fear. Many churches now have metal detectors that you have to go through.
|Women at some congregations in the north have been |
banned from carrying handbags to church
Women have been told not to carry hand bags because of the fear that an attacker may come under the guise of a worshipper, hiding a gun or bomb in a hand bag.
So, our religious life has been severely disrupted - along with our social life.
The streets of the city centre are almost deserted at night. People are too scared to go clubbing or to just sit around a table, drinking beer and eating fish.
We now lead secluded lives, staying at home. It is only the police who are on the streets of the city at night. But the violence has given people spiritual strength.
They draw comfort from the Bible, which teaches us that we will be persecuted just like Jesus was persecuted.
The message that we, in the Christian Association of Kaduna, spread is that most Muslims are good people - and the small number who cause violence should not harm relations between the two communities.
For the full article: BBC News.